The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted a site operator license to Colorado Air and Space Port after a 180-day review period, the 11th such license granted in the United States. Colorado Air and Space Port will serve as America’s hub for commercial space transportation, research, and development.
“Facilities like Colorado Air and Space Port will be developed around the country and the world,” said Mary Hodge, chair of the Adams County Board of Commissioners. “We’ll be building a hub that connects Colorado to commercial and research opportunities across the globe.”
Colorado Air and Space Port will accommodate vehicles making horizontal takeoffs and landings. The vehicles will take off like traditional airplanes using jet fuel and fly to a special-use airspace where rocket boosters launch the craft into suborbital flight. To land, the craft drops out of suborbital flight and lands like a traditional airplane.
The spaceport will also provide a boost to the state’s economy by keeping the nearly 200,000 jobs connected to the aerospace industry in Colorado as well as creating new employment opportunities.
“This license supports the rapid pace of innovation of Colorado-based companies while inviting new investment to grow these 21st-century jobs throughout the state,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “Colorado welcomes the chance to write the next chapter in our country’s space history.”
Gaining a site operator’s license is the first step in a layered process. A space company will have to apply to be licensed as an operator at the spaceport, and the vehicle that company employs for suborbital flight will also be approved and licensed.
“The license from the FAA is an important step in the process, and we’re looking forward to partnering with a company that shares our vision for the spaceport and the technological and commercial benefits it brings to Colorado,” said Space Port Director Dave Ruppel.
Located at the former Front Range Airport, six miles from Denver International Airport and only 30 minutes east of downtown Denver, the spaceport site contains 3,200 acres and is surrounded by 7,000 more acres of privately owned industrial property.
“There are huge commercial development opportunities both on site and in the surrounding area,” said Adams County Manager Raymond H. Gonzales. “When combined with other developments planned for the area, this part of Adams County is poised to become a major international commercial hub.”
Members of Colorado’s Congressional delegation have provided support throughout the process.
“Today’s long-awaited decision marks an important step forward for Adams County and the entire state of Colorado. Spaceport Colorado will leverage Colorado’s leadership in aerospace and space exploration, our well-educated workforce, and our excellent higher learning institutions to attract new businesses and continue pushing the boundaries on what we can learn and accomplish in space,” said Congressman Ed Perlmutter. “This spaceport designation brings with it many exciting opportunities, and I look forward to Colorado’s continued engagement in the growing commercial space industry.”
“I’m proud to have been a strong supporter of the Adams’ County Commissions effort to bring the spaceport designation to the Front Range Airport. I thank our Adams County Commissioners, and all those involved, in making their vision a reality,” said U.S. Representative Mike Coffman.
“Leaders across our state made the case that Colorado—with its robust aerospace and tech industries, strategic location, and highly skilled workforce—was uniquely positioned for a spaceport,” said Senator Michael Bennet. “We welcome today’s news and know that Spaceport Colorado will play a key role in the future of commercial space transportation around the country. I’ll continue supporting our state’s aerospace economy—the second-largest in the nation—as it boosts innovation and creates high-paying jobs for Coloradans.”
“Exciting news that Adams County received a license to move forward with a commercial spaceport at Front Range Airport,” said Senator Cory Gardner via Twitter. “This is a positive step as the county seeks to provide commercial space service.”
“Colorado plays a vital role in the space industry, and a spaceport only promises to expand that role. I look forward to working with Colorado Air and Space Port to ensure that any concerns from the eastern parts of our state and the agricultural community are taken into account as the project progresses,” said Congressman Ken Buck.
Upon getting the license from the FAA, the facility officially became known as Colorado Air and Space Port, retiring the Spaceport Colorado and Front Range Airport names.
For more information and frequently asked questions, visit coloradoairandspaceport.com.